Pekala in Liepaja to honor fallen U.S. airmen

  • 2014-04-09
  • From wire reports, RIGA

U.S. Ambassador to Latvia Mark Pekala will participate in a commemoration ceremony in Liepaja on April 9, in honor of the U.S. airmen presumed lost when their aircraft was shot down by Soviet fighter planes on April 8, 1950, reports LETA.

The commemoration ceremony will take place at 1:30 p.m. at the Mother Sea Monument, where guests will lay flowers and wreaths. Ambassador Pekala and Liepaja Deputy Mayor Gunars Ansins plan to address the assembled guests, with representatives from Latvia's Naval Forces, the Home Guard, and the Youth Guard also expected to participate in the ceremony.

During his visit, Ambassador Pekala will also visit the Liepaja Youth House to discuss their programs and participate in a media interview.

On April 8, 1950, a "PB4Y2 Privateer" aircraft, carrying a crew of ten Americans, was shot down by Soviet fighter planes during an operational mission over the Baltic Sea.

Search and rescue efforts to find the airmen continued until April 16, 1950, but were unsuccessful. The only known eyewitnesses to the incident were the Soviet fighter pilots who shot down the plane.

The U.S. Navy issued a presumptive finding of death for the crew on April 11, 1951.